Sramana Mitra has an excellent post out looking at the failure of Palm to grasp any of the seemingly obvious opportunities to expand their business and value over the last few years.Â It’s certainly true of Palm that other than slightly better hardware devices the software and web functionality is little changed in many years.
While LinkedIn and Plaxo are not huge successes on their own such services if launched back in times of greater Palm enthusiasm might have been big.Â Even today why not embrace Google backend technologies and make the Palm serve as the missing link for synchronized off-line access?Â Ideas abound but maybe they will come too late to make Palm interesting again in an iPhone, Blackberry world.
Another great aspect of this post is it brings up a facet of company analysis that should be more common in our and everyone else’s work.Â That is to examine what things a company could or should have done in and around their core markets.Â This is more than armchair quarterbacking or simply citing the innovators dilemma as to why companies fail to grasp opportunties in their markets.
Looking at this aspect for a company helps investors understand their culture and attitude around innovation and growing their value-add.Â Yahoo is another example that seems to get blindsided by every new innovation Google rolls out, even when it is in an area that Yahoo dominates like Maps a year ago.
We have done some of that type of work in looking at Logitech in our as yet unpublished report on them.Â Although the company is successful we’re surprised by the continued reliance on mice and webcams.Â Although they have made some acquisitions of companies like Slim Devices there have been fairly major trends that they have not capitalized on; most notably digital photography, Apple and the iPod.
— Kris Tuttle